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Scientists suggest a link between pollution and bowel disease

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2013 | Environmental Law |

Environmental laws exist, are modified and created for a reason. People want to live in communities that are not only beautiful and safe, but they want to live in a world that supports good health.

It is easy to take the air we breathe and the water we drink and use for granted, to just assume that they are okay. However, those life necessities can be damaging to people’s quality of life. If not clean enough, air and water can ultimately kill people or make them quite ill.

Scientists have found another reason among a long list of other health concerns for people to fight for a cleaner environment.

There has been a lot of discussion and studies into how air pollution can lead to respiratory problems. There have even been movies about big lawsuits involving how contaminated water can lead to cancer and other severe illnesses. Now, Canadian researchers warn that polluted air might pose a different medical threat: bowel disease.

Gastroenterologist researchers have evidence that suggest higher levels of toxic particulate matter in the air make the gut more vulnerable to dangerous bacteria by compromising the immune system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the most common bowel diseases are ulcerative colitis and Chron’s disease. Regarding the diseases, the CDS says, “…the immune system mistakes food, bacteria, and other materials in the intestine for foreign substances and it attacks the cells of the intestines. In the process, the body sends white blood cells into the lining of the intestines where they produce chronic inflammation.”

Bowel diseases can be painful and most certainly life-changing. For example, a man who once had dreams and potential to represent his country as a speed skater now regrets the loss of that opportunity due to his Crohn’s disease. He will likely need a liver transplant as a result of his condition. His story is one out of about five million stories of people who suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases in the world.

Though scientists do say that air pollution is not a direct, singular cause of bowel disease, this research is still a reminder about why environmental laws are so important. Those who believe that their health has been compromised due to violations of air quality or water quality standards should discuss their situation with an environmental law attorney whom they trust.

Source:, “Links between bowel disease and air pollution studied,” Lindsey Konkel, Sep. 26, 2013


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